When it seems too hot to practice.

Practicing quietly, without increasing heat in the body can be done.  We can use supports, and breath patterns to help.  Even if you have AC and/or fans it can still feel too hot to practice our yoga postures.  But, it’s a great time to investigate the 3 Patanjali Yoga Sutras that directly discuss asana.  The translations below are from BKS Iyengar.

PYS 2.46 Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit

(Ok, so perfect may not be an option, but striving in that direction can be.  It’s hard to be firm when you’re wilting, super difficult to have steady intelligence in the middle of the pandemic, and national reckoning of centuries of inequities, and well…. Benevolence of spirit we might just find when practicing humbly and with our breath patterns in mind.)

PYS 2.47 Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perfom it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.

(So, the practice tip here is to learn how to dial down the effort while maintaining the firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and not get too dull while adjusting towards a benevolent spirit.)

PYS 2.48 From then on, the sādhaka is undisturbed by dualities.

(Well, wouldn’t that be great!  Sādhaka by the way means the practitioner of yoga. And trying to sort out how not to be disturbed by all the conflicts in life is no small task)

Continue reading “When it seems too hot to practice.”

Hot Weather Pranayama Session

Often just 20 minutes spent in supine poses monitoring the breath can significantly cool the body, settle the mind, and set right our overall mood. A very simple practice is laid out below.  Think of it as 3 poses, 3 arm positions resulting in 3 breath geometric breath designs, and 3 locations for “mental confinement”

Props needed:

  • Bolster of stack of blankets
  • Belt
  • Eye bag or eye cloth

Three poses:

  1. Supta Baddha Konasana
  2. Supta Virasana
  3. Supta Swastikasana or Matsyasana

Three arm positions :

  1. Arms down near the side chest – center chest lift, broad pelvis
  2. Arms wide sideways – horizontal chest spread
  3. Elbows overhead – linear breath pattern on side chest

Three Locations for the mind. This means you settle your mental focus in one of the three places, and your breath originates and mostly stays settled in that one of the three places.

  1. Abdominal Region – should stay soft and receding, more so during exhalation. This region is considered connected to our passion, drive and creativity
  2. Frontal Chest region – don’t force the filling or lift, but it will increase with quiet practice. This region is considered to be connected to our emotional and “heartfelt” actions.
  3. Throat, face, including temples nose, mouth, ears, etc.  This region is considered connected to our ethereal mind.  The vastness of it, and its depth.

Change the Course – Create a New Direction

The crisis of COVID-19 has altered all of our lives.  It’s time to re-direct and configure a new path of action.  One with  a new awareness that helps us move forward and acknowledges changes are needed.  The same could be said of our latest national reckoning regarding systemic inequities in our society.   As we honestly investigate the problems can we create a better future?

An asana practice dedicated to twisting and growing tall, cleansing while culturing mental calmness can be one way we all commit to necessary changes.  When practicing yoga we always need to find stability to begin a pose, determination to develop the pose, and again re-stabilize any progress we have made.  We try to begin from a solid base, explore potentialities we haven’t tapped into, and settle again into a pensive mind.

Continue reading “Change the Course – Create a New Direction”